From the gorgeous Waimea Valley to the iconic Waikiki Beach to historic Pearl Harbor, Oahu is a must-see for lovers of the great outdoors. To get you ready for this bucket list adventure, we’re looking into some of the best of the best campsites for your tropical trek in Oahu.
While staying at some of the island’s luxury resorts is nice, nothing beats waking up to the sound of crashing waves and winding down at night with some star gazing.
As a disclaimer, it’s important to note that camping in Oahu is unlike anything on the mainland. You can also sleep peacefully, knowing there aren’t any lurking bears or other dangerous predators. Moreover, camping in the area is available at any time of year as temps in January on the island rarely fall below 76°F. However, Oahu is somewhat more restrictive on camping than the other Hawaiian Islands. Regardless, there are still tons of picturesque places to pitch your tent.
Malaekahana Beach Campground & State Recreation Area
For campers who want options
• Location: Oahu’s North Shore, located at 56-335 Kamehameha Highway Kahuku, HI 96731
• Campground Contact: (808) 674-7715
• Park Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
• Campground Website
To kick off this list, we’re looking at one of the most popular campgrounds on the island. As a privately-owned campground, it boasts convenient amenities and also has staff on-site 24 hours a day. After spending a day on the water, rinse off with an outdoor shower. Later, enjoy dinner next to your own personal fire pit. In addition, the site offers kayak, surfboard, and bodyboard rentals. After, if you want to hang back, you can still get some killer photo ops as you can easily see sea turtles and whales offshore.
Additionally, the campground is situated on Oahu’s Northshore, located between Laie and Kahuku on Oahu’s northeastern shore approximately 35 miles from Waikiki. Besides tent camping, the campsite allows car camping and also offers a variety of huts to choose from if pitching a tent isn’t your jam.
• 37 tent sites: $9.41 per night
• 6 car camping sites: $9.41 per night
• 15 Plantation Hales (Hut): $58.82 per night
• 4 Plantation Suite: $117.65 per night
• Tutu’s Hale Pavilion Package: 5 huts of your own, $388.24 per night
Malaekahana Beach Campground Amenities: beach access that’s perfect for swimming, bodysurfing, kayaking, sailing, and surfing, shower and restroom facilities, a rental store on site that lets visitors rent out standup paddleboards, bodyboards, surfboards, and bicycles, on-site instructors to teach you how to standup paddleboard and surf, a camp store that lets its guests purchase convenient supplies such as firewood, snacks, repair supplies, ice, and batteries
Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden
For those who like to take the less-beaten path
• Location: Located on Oahu’s Eastern side at 45-680 Luluku Rd, Kaneohe, HI 96744
• Campground Contact: (808) 233-7323
• Park Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Campground Website
For those who want to get away from the beach-goers, we recommend checking out the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden campground. Dubbed to be “a peaceful refuge,” you’ll also have over 400 acres of lush tropical rainforests to explore. However, as the only campsite not on a beach, you’ll want to make your reservation and get your required permit as early as possible as the site only has 15 spots. Nevertheless, it will be worth it as they all include restrooms, outdoor showers, and picnic areas. Spend your days hiking then enjoy feeding nearby ducks.
The campground is also nestled just south of the Ko’olau mountains on the windward, on the eastern side of Oahu in Kane’ohe.
• 15 tent sites: $32 for three nights or $52 for five nights
• One permit allows for a maximum of 10 people, two tents and three vehicles
Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden Campground Amenities: fire rings and grills, restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables
Bellows Field Beach Park
For those who can’t get enough of the water
Located on a stretch of windward beach on Ohau, you can choose from 50 different spots at this pristine white-sand beach park. The campground is also slipt into two sections: One that requires a military ID and one that’s open to anyone. Both boast incredible beachside camping, allowing you to wake up to perfect, powdery white sand and turquoise blue water.
The Bellows Air Force Base offers amenities such as beach cabins, equipment rentals, restrooms, and showers. For those who opt for less thrill-seeking adventures and are perfectly happy sunbathing and relaxing, this site is also for you. However, it’s only available for camping on the weekends, permit required. Currently, the campsite is suspending all overnight camping until Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022.
• 50 tent sites: $32 for three nights or $52 for five nights
• One permit allows for 10 campers
Bellows Field Beach Park Campground Amenities: Outdoor showers, lifeguards on duty, restrooms, beach access, picnic tables
For those who don’t mind getting dirty
• Location: Located on Oahu’s Northshore. Click here for detailed instructions on how to locate the campsite with your 4WD vehicle or by foot.
• Campground Contact: (808) 697-4311
• Park Hours: 6 a.m – 6 p.m.
• Campground website
In contrast to the campsites mentioned above, Peacock Flats is a dream for those who want to get their adrenaline going. However, it’s safe to say this spot isn’t for the uninitiated. In short, getting to Peacock Flats is not for the meek. First, you’ll need to obtain a permit, then backpack or take a 4WD vehicle through craggy mountain terrain before accessing the campsite.
Once you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views. Hike on, and then you’ll come to the Mokuleia trail to Three Corners, where you’ll get unreal views of Makua, Mākaha, and Mokuleia valleys. At night witness stellar stargazing while watching for shooting stars.
• 30 tent sites: $18 per night
• Each campsite holds up to six people
Peacock Flats Campground amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables, pavilions, wildlife viewing, leashed dogs allowed
Ahupuaa O Kahana State Park
For those who want all the hiking
• Location: Located on Oahu’s windward side at 52-222 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaaawa, HI 96730
• Campground Contact: (808) 237-7766
• Park Hours: 7 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.
• Campground Website
Located 26 miles from Honolulu, this campsite is also one of just a few publicly-owned ahupuaa (a traditional Hawaiian land division that connects the mountain to the ocean). The primarily untouched valley also gives campers a plethora of gorgeous hiking trails, a beach perfect for surfing, and several historical sites such as a Native Hawaiian heiau (temple), fishing shrines, and a prehistoric fishpond. However, it’s one of the wettest valleys on the island, so pack your rain gear and mosquito repellent. However, a permit is required for all camping
• 10 tent sites: $30 per night
• Each campsite holds up to 10 people
Ahupuaa O Kahana campground amenities: Beach access, leashed dogs allowed, picnic tables, shower and restroom facilities, drinkable water, multiple hiking trails